The national rankings aren’t there and the combined records aren’t as gaudy as last year’s meeting at Memorial Gym, but one thing that won’t be missing from last year is the intensity level that will be on display Tuesday when Vanderbilt and Tennessee square off (8 p.m. ESPN).
That intensity level is something that Vanderbilt’s freshman class understands they must be ready for.
“The older players have been telling me that the guys really get after it and they are hyped up a little bit more for this game,” freshman guard Brad Tinsley said. “They told us just to be ready for it and to weather the storm and get through it.”
Adding to the intensity of the game is the atmosphere in the building. For the second year in a row, the game has been dubbed a “White Out,” which is sure to add to the energy in the building. As a result, the crowd will be the most electric home crowd that Vanderbilt’s freshmen have ever played in front of.
“The guys have told me that the crowd really gets into it and that it is a magic atmosphere,” freshman forward Jeffery Taylor said.
It is an atmosphere that Head Coach Kevin Stallings has come to appreciate from the sidelines.
“It is one of the more special nights,” Stallings said. “I wouldn’t say it is unique in and of itself. There are some other nights that are awfully special in here as well, but it is one of the good ones for sure.”
For as much of a home-court advantage the crowd can provide the Commodores, Stallings also understands that the emotion in the stands could present a new challenge for his young team to overcome.
“(The atmosphere) can be distracting that way too for young guys,” Stallings said. “Hopefully we will handle the atmosphere and the environment and use it to our advantage.”